This blog is part of my recovery, and I would like it to remain a safe place for me to share parts of myself and my life that people close to me may or may not know. As a result, while I'm not going crazy with privacy settings, I do ask that if you find this on your own and suspect you may know me, please respect my privacy by checking with us before reading any further. This obviously doesn't apply if one of us has given you the link!

Friday, November 23, 2012

(7 Years After) Losing A Baby

As a woman, when a pregnancy ends and there is no baby to hold, it can feel like your world has literally exploded into nothingness around you. It can feel like there is no hope left in the world. It can feel like you'll never know happiness again.

I know because it happened to me seven years ago when I miscarried and lost my daughter, Elyssami Faith. It felt like my soul was being torn from my body along with my baby.

After 7 years, that morning and the first few days that followed are still etched in my memories as vivid as if it were happening now. It's not something I think I'll ever forget, just like I won't forget how much love I felt for that little life growing inside me.

There are some things I wish I could forget, like how I went to work that day and all I could do was cry; or how the physical agony ripped through me as my body let go of everything that had kept her alive; or how my own husband created deep emotional wounds asking if I was "over it" two days later and told me he was glad I had lost our daughter. Some things are better forgotten but they stay in my mind anyway.

There are some things I hope I'll never forget, like how it felt to have that little life growing inside me; or what a miracle it was; or how it felt to love so deeply and wholly even before meeting that little person.

And then there are the things I couldn't keep hold of, just the way I couldn't keep hold of her. That's the thing about a pregnancy that ends without a baby - you don't just lose a baby (as if that wasn't enough on its own). You lose all the hopes and dreams you'd had for her. You lose your sense of safety. You lose some of your innocence. You lose confidence in your body's ability to create and sustain life.

You lose a part of yourself.

And then... nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants you to say you had a baby and she died. People don't even want to hear you call a miscarriage a baby, let alone help you honour and remember her. Nobody wants to acknowledge you as a mother, like you don't deserve membership into that special club because your baby never kept you up crying all night -- but they don't realise, she did. The only difference is that it wasn't her crying, it was you.

I've been told that given enough time, all wounds will heal. I don't believe it. After seven years, though, I do believe that we learn how to live around the wounds. You don't get over losing your baby - it's not a hill you get to climb and when you're at the top you get a great view - that's not how it works. It isn't a gap you can fill, a wound you can heal - there is a piece of you and a piece of your life that is and always will be missing.

The thing is, though, you don't have to get over it. You just have to get through it, accept it, learn to cope with it... and live around it.

I'll never forget my daughter. I don't want to. However brief it was - she lived. She was loved. She deserves to have her name spoken, to be remembered and loved. And she will be because I am her mother and I will always love and remember her.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chrysalis Gets Political

As you all know, this is not a political blog, it never has been and it never will be. Part of that is that, as loathe as I am to admit it, is that politics generally bores me. It's complex, there's maths involved and it involves aspects of the human race that I prefer not to think about in too much depth (like hypocricy and lies!). Another part of the reason I don't usually write about political things is that they generally pass me by. I don't watch the news much, I read newspapers sporadically (and when I do it's usually just the local) and without a car, I don't even listen to the radio.

However, today I am moved to write about something very political, because what's going on in the world right now makes me both sad and angry. Now, whatever side of the argument you're on, or even if you're smack-bang in the centre - if you don't want to read about women's rights, or feminism, or abortion, then this is your out.

I want to get one thing straight before I start. I'm not a feminist. I'm not, and don't think I ever will be, a proper activist or strong advocate for women's rights. Despite what some women have tried to tell me, this isn't a slap in the face to women who ARE feminists. It's like saying I'm not an animal rights activist. I believe in the cause, and I'm grateful for the work that people who are those things do -- but I'm not doing the work, so why should I claim the title?

It's not that I don't think women are oppressed.
It's not that I don't think there needs to be more equality between genders.
It's not that I don't think things need to change.

It IS that I am only one person who has other things to focus on.
It is that there are things that are equally important to me that I am more capable of fighting or doing or advocating for.
It is that I do what I can with what I have - and that includes my energy.

Now that all of that is said and out of the way, I want to talk about how abhorrent I find the situation in Ireland right now. I kept silent all through America's big election - though you better believe that once I heard about the whole rape/abortion side of things, I followed it more closely than I have ever followed an election before, despite not even being American. I kept quiet about that - although not to Bumface, who got to hear a rehashed version of every update I heard - but I cannot keep silent on this.

Last week, Savita Halappanavar died of blood poisoning 3 days after she began to miscarry in an Irish hospital. This happened because in Ireland, abortion is illegal under all circumstances.

In case you missed that, let me tell you again. After 3 days of agony, while her body attempted to expel a baby with ZERO chance of survival (she was 17 weeks along), a woman died because hospital staff were not allowed to perform an abortion, despite her pleading.

Anyone who knows me knows how badly I wanted my daughter, and how devastated I was to have lost her. They may also know that I find abortion a difficult subject to discuss/hear about, and that I have some pretty strong views on it - even if they don't necessarily know what those views are.

But even with my daughter's anniversary looming, that time when I am most vulnerable and least likely to accept abortion, I still cannot understand how anyone, on either side of the fence, cannot see the contradiction inherent in "we believe in the sanctity of life" and "we will risk your life for the sake of a foetus with no chance of survival".

This is not okay. Women's health should not be medically forced to be placed at risk simply because they are carrying a baby. I honestly cannot see how, no matter where you stand on abortion, it can be rationally justified to take away her power to make decisions on her body and the baby/foetus she is growing inside it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sanguine Saturday: 7 Shades of Gratitude

Apologies on the lack of "promised" blogs - my session with my support worker on the Tuesday following my last post was tougher than I had expected, and by the time I had bounced back enough to blog again, I had other things happening in my offline life that kept me busy and distracted.

However, things have settled down on that score again, and though I can't promise I'll be diligent about posting in the next little while, especially as November is always such a difficult month for me, for today, I'm here and I'm ready to go.

I don't think I have explained on this blog yet, but my partner and I have been under a great deal of financial and emotional strain this year as our pay decreased as soon as we moved in together, leaving us with less spare money than was very comfortable. We were managing up until the point where everything started to need replacing/fixing -- and it really does feel like "everything" is the case! When we were accepted for support with Open Minds, Bumface and I were given a separate support person/case manager - and it just happened that Bumface's support worker, (D), has a special focus on housing. Very quickly he began to work with us on getting us into more appropriate housing, and we are now renting through social housing -- which means our rent is almost $150 less per pay, which is a HUGE weight off our shoulders. And, as a side benefit? In this new place, we're allowed to have a pet of up to 10kg... so guess who's planning to get a puppy next year? ;)

Here are today's 7 Shades of Gratitude.

1. Turning a house (or unit) into a home.
2. Care and concern from unexpected quarters.
3. Unexpected wins on the Melbourne Cup! (Not to mention excitement and cheer!)
4. Opportunities to discuss and pursue a project I've been toying with for a while.
5. Catching up, however briefly, with old friends.
6. Friendly neighbours.
7. Quiet mornings.

See you next time.